Purdy Creek project aims to improve fish passage, water quality

Pierce County residents who live near Purdy Lane and 144th Street NW can provide input on a proposed project to improve Purdy Creek’s water quality and fish habitat at a meeting this week.

According to Pierce County officials, Purdy Creek flows through 135-foot, twin 48-inch corrugated metal pipe culverts under 144th Street NW and a single 165 foot, 25-square foot box culvert under the Purdy Chevron gas station. The size of the structures is making it difficult for fish to move upstream for spawning. There are also water quality concerns, as water draining from the gas station parking lot and nearby roads goes directly into the stream.

Pierce County officials are seeking community feedback on two alternatives.

One plan calls for purchasing the Purdy Chevron gas station at 14317 Purdy Lane NW if the owner is agreeable. Pierce County would remove the building and parking lot, install a larger culvert or bridge at 144th Street NW, and create an estuary on the gas station site. Another plan calls for moving the creek approximately 200 feet east of its current location and install a larger culvert or bridge at 144th Street NW and Purdy Lane NW.

“This is a complex project with many parts,” said Pierce County Public Works and Utilities capital improvement program manager Hans Hunger. “We want the residents to look at these ideas and tell us which is more preferable before moving to the next step.”

Pierce County is in the process of securing funds for the project. If funding is available, construction is estimated to start in 2017.

A community meeting to discuss the project will be held on Thurs., Jan. 16, at 6:30 p.m. at the Peninsula High School library, 14105 Purdy Dr. NW, in Gig Harbor. More information is available online at piercecountywa.org/purdycreek.